In N.C., voting a straight ticket isn't enough

MCT Information ServicesOctober 18, 2012 

The following editorial appeared Wednesday in The Hickory Daily Record:

A slew of reminders are circulating about a quirk in North Carolina’s straight-ticket voting law. These reminders come from political groups, individuals who engage in mass emailing and even members of state legislatures and Congress. Although many emailed alerts attempt to induce the Chicken Little effect with baseless information, the straight-ticket warning should be heeded.

No matter how you fill out your ballot in North Carolina, you must mark your preferences for president and vice president. If you prefer one straight-party vote for all Republicans or all Democrats, you still must vote for president and vice president separately. It says so on the ballot.

Of course, the same ballots are used on Election Day and during Early Voting. President and vice president will appear first on your ballot. It’s the same statewide. Indicate your preference.

The ballot also states that non-partisan races, such as District or Superior Court judgeships, must be filled in to be counted.

Your straight-ticket mark affects non-presidential partisan races such as governor, county commissioner, Congress and legislature.

Many of the straight-ticket voting alerts claim North Carolina undervoted for president in 2004. That’s correct. More than 92,000 North Carolinians did not vote for president last election because they voted a straight ticket and did not properly mark their preference for president. The undervote count in 2000 was 75,000.

That’s a lot of votes to throw away because you didn’t read the ballot carefully and didn’t know of our state’s unique presidential preference requirement.... It’s quirky, but it’s been the law for a long time.

Be sure to vote for president and all non-partisan races on your ballot – even if you vote straight Republican or Democrat when you come to that portion of your ballot.

So be careful when you enter the voting booth. Read the ballot. Then check your vote. Fill in the circles on the ballot completely.

And we repeat, go vote.

MCT Information Services

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